The Best Position


The ever increasing size of baby makes it very difficult for an expectant mother to find a comfortable sleeping position. If you have always been a back or stomach sleeper, you might have trouble getting used to sleeping on your side, as doctors recommend. A complicated combination of hormones and a number of unhelpful conditions are bound to antagonize sleep problems.

Just as you will establish a bedtime routine for your newborn once he or she arrives, a relaxing bedtime routine will also help you to drop off. You should try to go to bed at approximately the same time each night so that your body begins to expect sleep. Additionally, taking a bath, having a warm milky drink or simply putting your feet up for half an hour before you go to bed will help you to wind down and hopefully make sleep come easier.

You should know more of the proper pregnancy sleeping positions. First trimester is the best time to learn so you know how to sleep well for the remainder of your pregnancy. Some people call the ideal sleeping position SOS or Sleep On Side.

In the early days of pregnancy, it is absolutely fine to sleep on your tummy. But for obvious reasons, this position will quickly become impossible. But many mums are unaware that sleeping on your back is discouraged, particularly in late pregnancy.

Supine Position

A number of studies have indicated that going to sleep in the supine position (i.e. on your back) in late pregnancy could be associated with a higher risk of stillbirth than going to sleep on your side. The most recent study – the Midlands and North of England Stillbirth Study (MiNESS) –involving over 1,000 women in 41 maternity units in the UK, found that women who had a late stillbirth were 2.3 times more likely to report going to sleep in a supine position the night before their baby was stillborn, than those who reported going to sleep on their sides.

Researchers do not know exactly why this might be the case but it is thought that it may be because sleeping on your back, particularly in late pregnancy, can cause compression of the uterus on the large blood vessels (inferior vena cava) and on the intestines, causing decreased blood flow and oxygen to the baby.

Sleeping on your right side can put pressure on your liver, so that leaves your left side, hence the doctor’s recommendations. Sleeping on your left has also been shown to help your kidneys to get rid of waste products and fluids from your body.

Much of the research conducted to date focuses on the position that women go to sleep in, rather than the position throughout the night. So if you wake up on your back, don’t worry, just settle back to sleep on your side. In an uncomplicated pregnancy, your risk of stillbirth is very low. Going to sleep on your side will just make it even lower. A good maternity pillow can be a life saver for expecting mothers. They not only promote sleeping in the correct side sleeping position for a healthy pregnancy, they also help you to sleep like a baby.

5 reasons why you should sleep on your left side

• Helps to prevent or reduce varicose veins
• Helps in preventing constipation
• Helps in preventing hemorrhoids
• Reduces the occurrence of swelling in your legs
• Helps in keeping the uterus off the liver due to the liver being on the right side of the abdomen
• Optimizes blood flow to the placenta and your baby

Article By Ellen Jones

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